Powell & Yellen together

The two biggest players in U.S. economic policy, Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, and Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, made their first joint appearance together on Tuesday the 23nd of March, testifying in front of the U.S. House Committee. They quickly followed up their debut by speaking to the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on Wednesday.

In their respective statements, their messages to both chambers of Congress were unified: although there is some positive momentum in the economic recovery, there is a lot of work to do — specifically, more is needed to combat the damage of the COVID-19 related restrictions. The Treasury Secretary pointed out that the country is down nearly 10 million jobs from its pre-pandemic peak and that “we should be clear-eyed about the hole we’re digging out of.” The Fed Chairman stated that the “recovery is far from complete” and reaffirmed his loose monetary policy position outlined last week.

The Treasury will be aggressive in distributing pandemic relief funds and preparing a new infrastructure spending plan, and the Federal Reserve will not be slowing down their asset purchase program, nor raising interest rates any time soon.

Over the past two months Treasury yields have undergone a slow and steady climb due to expectations of inflation and a strong and immediate economic recovery. This week, Powell continued to pour water on these smoldering fires by stating that sectors hardest hit by the pandemic are still experiencing shortfalls and stating that he does not expect inflation to be “particularly large or persistent.”

One thing we know for certain is clear: both monetary and fiscal policy will continue to be let loose for the foreseeable future.

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